If you’re new to juggling the soccer ball, you likely have a lot of questions…
Why is this important to learn?
How in the world am I actually supposed to keep the ball in the air?!
Am I doing it right?
How long will it take to get better?
When will it be fun?
Rest assured! These questions and concerns are very common. Juggling is one of the most difficult skills in the game to learn. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice to become proficient. A big initial milestone for every new juggler is being able to keep the ball in the air for 10 consecutive touches.
We recommend focusing on juggling with your shoe laces. While learning to juggle with your thighs can be easier, juggling with your feet is much more useful. It can also be tempting to simply focus on one foot. But the more you can practice with both feet - and trying to alternate feet - the better it will be for you in the long run. So don’t neglect your weaker foot!
Here are 5 tips to get your first 10 juggles:
#1: Learn and repeat the technique. In the Techne app we teach juggling through the ladder methodology. Start with the ball in your hands, drop it, and take only one touch at a time before catching the ball again. That way you can control your focus on the technique of each and every touch. Lock your ankle, bend the knee of your kicking leg slightly, bring your foot up so that the ball has a flat surface to connect with your shoe laces, and hit through the center of the ball. Progress to two consecutive touches at once, then three, and so on.
#2: Try free juggling! In addition to practicing your juggling ladders, sometimes it’s good to just go for it. See how many juggles you can do in a row, using whatever surface you need to keep the ball in the air. This may mean you have to move around a lot, hit the ball a bit higher, or even reach or dive to get that extra touch to break your record. Do whatever you can to keep the ball up when you practice your free juggling.
#3: Keep score. The way to evaluate if you’re getting better is by keeping score. Keep track of your juggling record is at all times! You can write it down, keep track on your phone, or use the Techne App Time Trial scoring to track your best. Keep track for your right foot only, left foot only, alternating feet, thighs only, and overall.
#4: Consistency is key. The best way to improve your juggling is to practice every day. It’s ideal to practice for 15-30 minutes a day rather than a few hours only once or twice a week. Set yourself training reminders in the Techne app to schedule your training and hold yourself accountable.
#5 Stick with it. Juggling can be very challenging! You may go for days or weeks with very little or even no improvement. Then you may surprise yourself, and make sudden progress. The only way to get your first 10 juggles is to not give up! It takes most soccer players about 10 hours of focused practice to get their first 10 juggles. Some players take longer than others. There is no magic to learning to juggle. If you see a player with great ball control doing lots of juggles, it’s because they have practiced and stuck with the process over time!
Finally, when will it be fun? When you get those first 10 juggles, you deserve to feel a sense of excitement and accomplishment. And when you get good at juggling, it is super fun to do, and also nice to be able to show your family, coaches, and teammates. So many soccer players love to practice juggling whenever and wherever they can. In addition, you will surely see the results of learning to juggle in your ball control on the field.